The Studebaker National Museum recently acquired the Bonnie Doon Special, a Studebaker-powered Midget race car. This car was built by W.C. “Barney” Barnum of Mishawaka, Indiana, in 1948, and sponsored by the Bonnie Doon Ice Cream Company. It campaigned extensively in the AAA Midget racing series in the late 1940s and early 1950s, both locally and nationally. It’s best finish was in 1953 when it carried driver Rex Easton to third place in the season-end rankings.
Midget racing traces its roots to the mid-1930s as an affordable and exciting motorsports series. Studebaker’s Champion engine, which debuted in 1939, was a popular midget powerplant due to its ruggedness, compact design and its high-RPM abilities.
This special piece of local history will be on display beginning this holiday season.
The Studebaker National Museum is located at 201 Chapin St., just west of downtown South Bend. It is open Mon.-Sat., 10am-5pm, and Sun. Noon–5pm. Admission is $11 for adults, $9.50 for seniors over 60, and $7 for youth ages 6-18. For more information, please call the Museum at (574) 235-9714 or toll free at (888) 391-5600 or visit our website at www.studebakermuseum.org. For an additional cost, visitors can tour The History Museum, which adjoins the Studebaker National Museum.